"We Are The Solution"

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: In a speech that almost might have served better as a fond farewell address than an Inaugural, President Clinton summed up the situation in America today and concluded that with peace, prosperity and heart, there is nothing that Americans can't accomplish. Calling for an end to "the politics of petty bickering," Clinton called on his fellow citizens to help build a rosy era of "New Promise" based on national unity. "We must succeed as one America," Clinton said. "Let us build our bridge wide enough and strong enough for every American," he said, invoking his campaign theme of a bridge to the 21st century. Indulging in frequent oratorical flights of fancy, Clinton depicted an idealized America where children are safe ("no one will try to shoot them or sell them drugs"), where education, health care and retirement are "secure," where access to the Internet is a given for every child, and where a smaller, budget-conscious government "does more with less." In recognition of Martin Luther King day, Clinton pointed down the Mall to the spot where King had given his "I have a dream" speech 34 years earlier, appealing to citizens not to "succumb to the dark impulses that lurk in the far regions of the soul." Turning the New Promise theme to his own advantage, the President asked for a bipartisan ceasefire, noting that Americans have chosen a Democratic President and a Republican Congress, and expect them to work together, putting the interests of the nation first: "America demands and deserves big things from us, and nothing big ever came from being small." The speech was a marked departure from his 1993 appeal for radical political and social change. "Government isn't the problem and government isn't the solution," Clinton said Monday. "We, the American people . . . we are the solution."